Why I bought and sold an Apple Watch in 24 hours
My last post was about digital downsizing and learning to wear a watch again. In that post, I shared that I thought I'd settled on a Samsung Galaxy Watch. After wearing it for three days, I ended up buying an Apple Watch. I wore it and in disgust sold it the next day. This post is about why the Apple Watch is the worst Apple product ever. Or something like that.
In my last post, I shared these thoughts about the Galaxy Watch:
I am struggling with whether I want to keep it. Here’s why:
It’s more expensive than the Apple Watch Series 3 I was looking at.
I feel like I”m having to find workarounds and force it to place nicely/sync with my iPhone. People who don’t use Apple products across the board don’t understand that Apple fans are just used to things “working.” A lot of times with Apple products, the way you want to swipe or navigate is already built in. It’s like thinking, “I wish it would…” and then happily discovering that the functionality is already there. Apple products just make sense.
It’s a bit boxy. I find myself having to pull my sleeve down over the watch a lot.
The battery doesn’t last more than a full day.
I do like being able to make and receive calls from the watch.
I love being able to glance at my watch without pulling my phone out of my pocket for… time (imagine that), weather, to see who’s calling and even check my steps (a weird new thing that I now do but never did before).
I don’t like that you have to turn off iMessage to have texts sent to the watch (and I could never get that to work even so). However, that’s probably a good thing. I don’t want to be distracted by all the notifications (and I even have them turned off on my iPhone).
After three days with the Galaxy Watch, I began to wonder if I was struggling with why it wasn't an Apple Watch. I wanted easier integration with my iPhone. I was trying to make the watch jump through hoops for my iPhone that it just wasn't designed to do. That unsettling realization led me to say, "I need to try an Apple Watch."
My family has tried the Apple Watch before.
My whole family has owned Apple Watches. And now none do. Sam, Adelyn and Carolyn have all had one. One by one, however, they each got rid of theirs.
"I didn't like being so connected, and I didn't like the way it looked." (Carolyn, techno-savvy wife)
"I didn't like being connected and seeing everything." (Adelyn, college junior)
(No, they didn't collaborate on their response!)
I tried one of theirs for an hour or so a couple of years ago and vowed to never own one. I ate my words last Thursday. I found one on Facebook Marketplace and became the skeptical owner of an Apple Watch series 3.
Now remember, my goal at the beginning of my watch search was to find a watch I could easily download music to and take on my runs (using a running app to record). I didn't want to be bumped and nudged and to be constantly available to people through my watch. I did discover with the Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch the benefit of glancing to see who was calling, but even that I turned off after a while. I don't need to know or be available all the time. I am old enough to remember the simply beauty of being unavailable (and of having to stop on a road trip to use a pay phone).
Here's my own conclusions:
It plays well with the iPhone. And that's the nicest thing I can say about it.
I hated how it looked like a miniature digital screen on my wrist.
I hated how it displayed the icons into this miniature pinwheel of circular disorder. HATED. I know I would have gotten used to where the icons/apps were that I needed, but I HATED having to look deeply at a tiny screen to find the app I wanted and carefully tap right on the correct icon. You have to give the watch your full attention - if even for a few seconds. But that takes away the "glance" benefit of a wearable in my book. That was the whole point for me - spending less time in my phone. I want glance and usefulness not distraction and focused activity on my wrist.
I hated how un-customizable it was. I've gotten used to that with the iPhone, but after using the Samsung and having the ability to swipe between screens quickly, add shortcuts, and customize the smallest details of a watch face, I found the Apple Watch to be just.. clunky.
You cannot delete apps off the Apple Watch that Apple installs.
Text messages continued coming to my Apple Watch. Even when you turn all notifications off, they keep coming. You don't get bumped or dinged about them, but they still show up on your watch, whether you want them there or not. That's irritating. That includes ALL texts - even the texts you get from your bank with a six-digit number to verify your identity. I don't want added distractions on my watch.
You get two screens to look at with the Apple Watch - the time and the vomitous swirl of tiny icons. That's it. I found it unintuitive to have to swipe over to the apps I would most use, and then open an app to just glance at something. Compare that to the experience on the Galaxy Watch:
The Apple Watch is... ugly. It just is. Round watches trump square digital readouts every time.
The Galaxy Watch has a dial around the outside that is just.. wonderfully useful for quick navigation.
The Apple Watch is just as big as the Galaxy Watch as far as thickness. Yes, I know the series 5 is thinner, but one concern I had about the Samsung was its thickness. When I realized the Apple Watch was just as thick, it actually surprised me.
What I gave up by selling my Apple Watch
The only thing the Galaxy Watch won't do is receive texts. That's because of the iMessage exclusivity of Apple. And actually, it's nice not to have it on my watch.
Sam (recent college grad) finally chimed in on when he had an Apple Watch just before I hit publish:
“In an age of instant gratification and the pressure to be connected to everything all at once, I found that it induced a mental state of constant worry and connection to the virtual world rather than what was right in front of me. It pushed for problems, regardless of urgency, to be solved ASAP, often leading to poor outcomes. I decided to settle with a smart watch with the same basic benefits, like heart rate, workout tracking, etc. but got rid of the meaningless and constant barrage of notifications.”
I texted back and said, "Did you come up with the first one???"
He responded with, "That’s how I would answer that if someone from a magazine asked me.But my simple answer is: it’s too much and we don’t need more of that crap."
Extra: Health benefits
One thing I have surprised myself by enjoying - the health awareness. Both watches (and I think most smart watches these days) nudge/bump and electrocute you if you sit for too long. In their effort to keep you active and healthy, there's innumerable things you can do - measure your heart rate, your EKG, your steps, your calories burned during exercise and even the length of your nose hairs.
That was one of the main goals I had in beginning to use a watch - to track my runs and leave my phone in the car so that I'm not available. Mission accomplished.
These watches will also notify you when you've been blogging too long...
Time for a "torso twist." Watch you later.